Perpich News

Jae Blondo (Literary Arts 2024) Receives COMPAS Awards

January 10, 2024

Jae Blondo (Literary Arts 2024) received the Best Writing for Grades 10-12 for the Lillian Wright Awards for Creative Writing on December 2, 2023.

Congratulations to Jae Blondo (Literary Arts 2024) on receiving two recognitions from COMPAS, a non-profit education organization that teaches through art. The professional Teaching Artists from COMPAS work alongside students, teachers, older adults, hospital patients, teens, and other community members to spark their imaginations and infuse their lives with creativity.

One of their Teaching Artists, Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre, did a residency with the Literary Arts program at Perpich in February, 2023. Kyle submitted pieces by two of our Perpich students as stand out examples of the poetry work done during the residency. Works by Jae and by Mia Tamez (Literary Arts 2023) were included in the COMPAS annual anthology program of student writing that came out in November, 2023.

The COMPAS Anthology Reading took place at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul on December 2, 2023. This special event highlighted profound and inspiring young poets who were selected to be included in the 44th edition of the COMPAS anthology, “a fire, a river, a window,” which was edited by COMPAS Teaching Artist, May Lee-Yang. Read more about the event here.

At the COMPAS Anthology Reading event, Jae learned their piece, “The Interplay of Light and Shadow on Ceramic”, was selected as the Best Writing for Grades 10-12 for the Lillian Wright Awards for Creative Writing. The Lillian Wright Awards recognize literary achievement among young writers in the COMPAS Creative Classroom Program. Generously underwritten by the Lillian Wright and C. Emil Berglund Foundation, the award winners and their schools are celebrated at the publication event in December.

“Writing is a really powerful art form to me,” said Blondo. “In everyday life we use words to communicate ideas and messages, as well as connect with each other. I try to seek to tackle the ideas of mental health, identity, and diversity in my writing. I think ‘The Interplay of Light and Shadow on Ceramic’ is a great piece that tackles mental health, toxic masculinity, and being different then each other through a fantastic metaphor of ‘a simple cup of coffee’. Receiving this award and being featured in the COMPAS anthology of student work feels like I’m actually making an impact on other people through my writing and I couldn’t be more grateful for this experience.”

Dr. Kevin Lally, Literary Arts Instructor, said, “We are so proud of Jae! Their work exploring family and loss has been spectacular and well-deserving of recognition. We’re so excited to see what they do next!”

In addition to attending Perpich, Jae is a practicing artist, currently producing a spoken word album, as well as painting, sewing, performing on stage in various theater productions, and producing lots of culinary masterpieces. They enjoy spending time with their pets (two cats and two dogs), baking bread, and singing loudly to music while driving.

COMPAS has been putting creativity into the hands of Minnesotans for almost 50 years. Their artist tool kit includes visual artists, performing artists, musicians, and writers, all committed to touching people by exposing them to hands-on creative expression. That creative expression can take the form of residencies, workshops, performances, community impact projects/public art, etc. The COMPAS teaching model, artists, and 40+ years of successes make them an effective and trusted arts education program in the state. Over 2 million children, countless adults, and hundreds of teachers have experienced their programs.

Jae is from Kettle River, MN and is the child of Steven and Beth Blondo. Jae previously attended Moose Lake High School.

Congratulations, Jae!